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Infrastructure Strategy Summary

The Infrastructure Strategy sets out our plan to manage our physical assets, valued at over $2 billion, over the next 30 years. It identifies the key issues we face, what our plan is to respond to them and what the costs are looking like.

We review our Infrastructure Strategy every three years as part of our LTP process. Since our last review, we have been involved in the Government’s Three Waters Reform programme, have completed a chlorine-free review, have contended with a significant flood and have completed a number of major projects.

These projects are:

  • Detailed asset condition assessments
  • Fixed the outfall pipe
  • Installed two de-chlorinated water stations
  • Completed masterplans for all Three Waters
  • Returf of McLean Park
  • Destination Playground – Anderson Park
  • Further development in Te Awa and Parklands
  • Inner Harbour condition assessment and masterplan
  • Added to our bikeable and/or walkable pathways (we now have 46.1km)
  • Communal facilities block at Kennedy Park Holiday Resort
  • High performance training rugby field (Park Island)

We face some major changes anticipated in key legislation over the coming years including the Resource Management Act, Water Services Bill and the Climate Change Response Amendment Act (Zero Carbon), as well as increasingly stringent standards.

What we are working with

  • 90% of Napier is on flat land
  • Seismic zone and low lying suburbs. The city is susceptible to groundwater level rise and liquefaction
  • Flood prone areas
  • Tsunami threat
  • Growing population (medium growth city)
  • Ageing population
  • Ageing assets
  • Housing shortages
  • Not a lot of land for residential development (currently Te Awa, Parklands and Western Hills)
  • Opportunity for intensification / higher density development (i.e. more houses on available land / apartment living)

Asset condition

We have been working with outdated systems and processes and have had insufficient information about our assets to inform decisions about replacements and upgrades. Over the past few years, we have looked into what we have, their condition and what we need for our city to grow and develop. Our current plan deals with the essential renewals that are due. To ensure we have visibility of the condition and life of all our assets, we will continue to prioritise our asset assessment programme over the next few years.

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Infrastructure Strategy Key Issues

In the past, we have been focused on keeping rates rises small and have relied on our reserves (savings) as a funding source for big projects. We have not set aside enough money to pay for replacements when things are at the end of their useful life. Now that there is a lot of replacement needed, we will be getting loans to help pay for the cost. This means that everyone who will use the asset (now and into the future) will contribute, rather than pushing the full cost onto current ratepayers.

We have a big capital works programme ahead of us ($825 million worth), largely due to our significant investment in water infrastructure, infrastructure for growth and investment in renewing our existing assets. The Government provided a stimulus package to address the economic effects of COVID-19. We were granted some of this funding as well as the Three Waters Reform funding, so we have a lot to deliver in a short time frame. We had planned to complete $542 million of capital projects during our last LTP. Over the last few years, we have been able to deliver between $20 and $50 million worth of capital projects in any given year, despite planning to deliver almost double that. Some key projects from our last LTP were not completed and have either been removed (e.g. Aquatic development) or their timing has been reset into this LTP. This combined with the new plan means we are proposing to deliver $283 million or 52% more than our last 10 year plan. Over the last 12 months we have recruited more staff, particularly in the three waters area, with more on the way so we can deliver our planned projects. 

We are also working with other councils in the region so that those working in the infrastructure delivery industry are not overloaded with projects. We will work with external consultants when we need additional resource. However, it is still a significant amount of work that may require reorganising along the way. Our plan focuses on making improvements to our infrastructure networks so they become more resilient and are modernised to gain efficiencies over the medium to long term. If we are unable to deliver the entire programme, we will still be able to ensure basic needs are met, including delivering core infrastructure to ensure community health and wellbeing, meeting legislative requirements and replacing key strategic assets. We do not believe there is significant risk of critical failures, or a decline in service provision, if work is delayed or deferred.

In our programme, we do have projects that are not critical to the running of our city which could be removed should we lack enough capacity to deliver (externally and internally). This would mean we would not progress some projects that increase our level of service. These could include the new community centre, ambassador programme and Ahuriri Masterplan projects.

Napier is classed as a medium growth city. The Government requires us to provide development opportunities to meet our population growth, including affordable housing provision. At the same time, we are limited as to where we can build to protect our food production capability and to ensure we respond to our natural hazards. We are also reviewing our District Plan to enable intensification.

Our city is changing. We have moved from primarily a service town to a growing urban-oriented city. Our people are changing too. In a couple of decades time, over 30% of our people will be aged over 65. These factors change all sorts of things such as the type of housing people will want; how they want to get around the city; where and how they will work and, what they want to do in their spare time. Factors like these also affect the sort of developments we should support, what the roads should be like, and what public facilities will be needed. Climate change is already starting to impact our planning too. We need to consider where these impacts will be felt in our city and how we should respond, particularly when we are looking to replace or install new infrastructure – we need to build in the right places at the right time, using the right materials. We are also facing changing standards and regulations, requiring improved and sometimes new systems and equipment to comply. We expect standards to become more stringent over time.

We are fortunate to live in a city with easy access to nature, particularly water. We know we can do better to improve the quality of our water and the rest of our environment. Our strategy focuses on this, from what we discharge into our water, the materials we use for our infrastructure, to increasing access to green spaces and nature, and encouraging sustainable practice for our developments.

We can’t build entire networks that will withstand severe natural hazards such as damage caused by earthquakes. But we can identify particular areas that are more susceptible and avoid development in those places. There are already many homes and businesses in areas that are susceptible to natural hazards and the impacts of climate change. We are looking at how to reduce these impacts - for example, we know we can improve evacuation routes in some parts of the city. As climate change and rising sea levels become more and more important, we will continue to make decisions on future investments and infrastructure that take these issues into account.

The systems we have been using are outdated and quite manual. We are moving to using new technology that delivers data quickly, seamlessly and with the right level of information. This means we can operate more effectively and make better decisions that, ultimately, deliver cost savings.

The future of water services delivery is uncertain. We are working with the Government on the reform programme which could see services delivered at a regional or multi-regional level. In the meantime, we are continuing with our plans and maintaining water as our top priority.

Over the last few years, we have spent time assessing all of our assets – from our pipes and buildings to our pools and playgrounds. We have a lot to look after! We have not kept up with replacing or upgrading all of our assets. Some of them are well past the end of their useful life and are getting beyond repair. We are prioritising replacements and upgrades for what is essential, what is well used along with what we can afford. We are ensuring that we are ahead of the game for upcoming renewals.

We have work planned on the critical assets that keep our city running. Outlined below are the issues affecting our assets and how we plan to tackle them.

  Critical Asset  Issue  Plan 
Transportation  Inner harbour upgrade End of life Planned 2022-2051
Water Supply   New Borefields  Water contamination risk New borefields planned 2021-2028
Water Quality Adding treatment plants 2021-2028
New reservoirs Near end of life, meet growing demand Replacement planned 2021-2028
Wastewater     Replace outfall pipe and pump station Nearing end of life Replacement planned 2021-2028
Treatment plant Consent compliance Ongoing upgrades 2021-2051
Meet growing demand Additional treatment plant 2029-2031

SCADA system (monitoring and
control system)

Manual system

Upgrades planned 2021-2051 to achieve efficiency and better information and control


Lagoon Farm diversion
(The big channel)

Risk of flooding Planned 2021 through to 2031
  Flood alleviation projects

Risk of flooding, meet demand from
construction, facilitate growth

Planned 2031 though to 2051
Parks and Reserves  McLean Park Harris Stand nearing end of life Harris Stand 2047
Turf replacement (has 20 year lifespan) Re-turf planned 2031

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